This Lab had been deployed more than 200 times since 2006. The plucky, here dog had been fighting lymphoma for almost two years.
Blu was 10 and had been retired in February. Officer Curt Dieterle was his handler.
“Blu will be missed by the community as a whole and specifically by the law enforcement community,” said Dieterle. “Blu was a people magnet and a great public relations representative. I never saw him bare his teeth. He was a gentle giant,” he said.
Not all of the Labrador’s chores had to do with violations of fish and wildlife laws.
Blu was trained to detect articles in addition to being a tracking dog. He would alert if something was out of place in environment he was searching.
“The one that stands out to me is the child abduction case,” Dieterle said. He was referring to August 2010 when Stephen Westfall, then 44, abducted and beat a 6-year-old girl. Westfall avoided capture for about two weeks. He is now imprisoned.
Dieterle said authorities had traced Westfall’s cell phone to an area of 100 square yards along the C&O Canal towpath near the bridge to Wiley Ford, but could not find it.
“There was some thought that he may have committed suicide because the location of the phone had not moved,” Dieterle said.
Dieterle said State’s Attorney Michael Twigg asked him to bring Blu to the site, where a manual search by officers had not been fruitful.
“The grass was about 30 inches high and after 10 minutes Blu alerted,” Dieterle said. “I spread the grass apart and there was the phone.” Dieterle said the phone provided important evidence in the ongoing search.
Blu received numerous official recognitions for his work. As recently as May 5 the dog was honored by the Allegany County Office of the Sheriff at an awards ceremony.
Blu’s last case was in December when he tracked an illegal hunter in Frederick County. The hunter was found and charged for hunting without permission and failure to wear fluorescent orange.
In October 2011, Blu tracked a lost woman and her dogs for more than five miles in the wooded mountains between Frostburg and Mount Savage, eventually finding them.
“The Trooper 5 pilot landed the helicopter so he could meet Blu,” Dieterle said. “He said he had flown over a lot of tracking dogs and never seen one go that far on a successful track.”
ieterle received the best compliment about Blu from a thief.
“He told the arresting officers ‘You never would have caught me if it wasn’t for that (expletive deleted) dog.’”
Dieterle is grateful to the NRP for theirreaction to Blu’s illness. “The department stepped up and paid for chemotherapy twice,” he said.
“Blu will never be replaced,” Dieterle said. “But we’ll just keep working and see how it goes, won’t we, Ben,” he added, patting the young Lab on the head.
Source: Cumberland Times News